CHR condemns ‘Willing-Willie’ for child abuse

In a statement, Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales and Commissioner for Children Ma. Victoria Cardona said they will investigate the incident and recommend proper legal actions against those responsible for what they described as an exploitation of the child’s innocence and demeans his inherent dignity for entertainment’s sake. “

CHR said the “ multiple pressures exerted on Jan-Jan by the TV program’s host, audience, and his parents to perform a humiliating act in exchange for ten thousand pesos constitute child abuse as defined in Section 10 of R.A. No. 7610 or “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act.”

The law provides that “any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or to be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development ..shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.”

“The willingness of Jan-Jan’s parents to expose him, both in private and public, to a humiliating and degrading situation is child abuse. The Commission is also deeply alarmed that the abuse suffered by Jan-Jan was seen on national television and that its videos are being repeatedly watched by the public, including children,” CHR said..

The Commission said they will investigate this incident in order to identify the person/s liable and to recommend proper legal actions against them.

The statement further said,”The Commission will also issue recommendations to relevant private, especially TV5, and public agencies in order to prevent similar incidents from happening again.”

They called on  relevant government offices such as the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Justice to undertake the appropriate actions to address this incidence of child abuse and to provide the necessary relief to Jan-Jan.

Social Services Dinky Soliman on Monday said her office condemns the emotional abuse and humiliation bestowed on Jan-Jan.

She  wrote TV5 owner Manuel V. Pangilinan asking him that “Young children not be allowed to appear in Willing Willie and other similar shows in the network that cashes in on poverty.”

Grace Poe-Llamanzares, chairperson of the Movie Television Review and Classification Board, the Willing Willie Jan-Jan case is now with the agency’s Hearing and Adjudication Committee  which will be meeting on Monday.

Social media (Facebook and Twitter) are replete with statements of outrage over the humiliation of Jan-Jan although there are a few who dismiss the outrage as making a mountain out of a molehill.

TV5 and Revillame apologized for the segment of the March 12 show “which viewers may have found offensive or in bad taste.”

“ We wish to stress that there was never any intention to humiliate or abuse Jan-Jan or any contestant on the show,” the statement said.

Jan-Jan’s father, Jojo Estrada, said he saw nothing wrong in his son doing the “macho dance” and  was thankful for the  P10,000 that Revillame gave his son.